Best Short Stories 2019

These shorts linger long. The best short story collections published in 2019.

See all of our 2019 Best Books lists.

 
Fajardo-Anstine, Kali. Sabrina & Corina: Stories. One World. ISBN 9780525511298.
Focusing on Latinx characters of indigenous ancestry in the American West, debut author Fajardo-Anstine breathes life into her mothers, daughters, sisters, and aunts—and a few husbands and brothers. This self-assured collection, consistently engaging and often surprising, holds the many permutations of love and family up to the light with warmth and imagination.
 
Keret, Etgar. Fly Already: Stories. Riverhead. tr. from Hebrew by Sandra Silverson. ISBN 9781594633270.
Like modern Zen koans, Israeli writer Keret’s offbeat stories add up to more than the sum of their parts. From “Goodeed,” an app connecting rich women with homeless men, to a future army that enlists high schoolers by offering Pokémon Go–type prizes, these darkly funny pieces gently but pointedly comment on how we live now.
 
Meijer, Maryse. Rag: Stories. FSG Originals. ISBN 9780374246235.
In uncompromising language freighted with significance, Meijer captures creepy, off-kilter scenarios—miscarriage as aphrodisiac, dogs facing euthanasia, parents in absurdist mode as their daughter gains weight. This is the kind of book readers stumble upon with a satisfied shock, a dark funhouse that pushes the limits.
 
Russell, Karen. Orange World and Other Stories. Knopf. ISBN 9780525656135.
Russell’s delight in storytelling, and where her imagination can take the reader, bubbles under the surface here. These stories are fantastic yet entirely credible, including two gold-digging Depression-era girls who ride a chairlift to a haunted mountaintop party and a new mother who makes a pact with a terribly needy devil.
 
Scott, Rion Amilcar. The World Doesn’t Require You: Stories. Liveright. ISBN 9781631495380.
Revisiting Cross River, MD, the mythic town founded by leaders of a slave revolt in the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize–winning Insurrections, Scott tweaks story convention while offering arresting, mellifluous language and a strong sense of place touched by the fantastical.
 
Wang, Xuan Juliana. Home Remedies: Stories. Hogarth: Crown. ISBN 9781984822741.
From two ultra-rich Chinese college students sent home from America for assault to a disaffected narrator offering remedies for boredom, self-pity, and more, debut author Wang’s characters are mostly young people navigating cultural borders. The results are smart, luminous, and sometimes funny in a way that can hurt.
 
Washington, Bryan. Lot: Stories. Riverhead. ISBN 9780525533672.
In stories at once tough-minded, observant, and almost cheeky on the surface while plumbing painful depths beneath, Washington, a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree, illuminates life in a marginalized Houston community. Threaded is the story of one young man’s struggle to grow up, adding arc and unity to a polished debut collection.
 
Wisel, Kate. Driving in Cars with Homeless Men: Stories. Univ. of Pittsburgh. ISBN 9780822945680.
Wisel’s sharp, dynamic debut follows the lives of four young Boston women whose hard luck is balanced by their fierce love and loyalty to each other. Their stories are illuminated through brilliant flashes of detail that give a surprising beauty to worlds punctuated by violence, overdoses, missing fathers, rusty Impalas, and, throughout, the tenderness of friendship.
 
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Lisa Murphy

Driving in Cars with Homeless Men is the best collection of short stories I’ve ever read. I cried, I laughed out loud, I felt pain and sorrow. I also felt a real tenderness for all 4 young women. Each word in this book is well chosen. It’s masterful.

Posted : Nov 18, 2019 07:52


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